Forensic investigation report not ready‚ acting Cricket SA president Williams tells Parliament

20 August 2020 - 15:10
By Tiisetso Malepa
Beresford Williams during the Women's Super League launch at Protea Marriot Breakwater on December 13, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images Beresford Williams during the Women's Super League launch at Protea Marriot Breakwater on December 13, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) acting president Beresford Williams has told Parliament that a forensic audit and investigation report into board and management practices at the ailing organisation is not ready to be presented to the sport‚ arts and culture portfolio committee as scheduled.

The crisis-riddled organisation was scheduled to brief the committee on Friday on the findings and recommendations of the independent forensic investigation conducted by Fundudzi Forensic Services‚ including an update on the suspended CEO Thabang Moroe‚ who is in his ninth month on fully paid suspension.

But Williams wrote to the committee on Wednesday‚ on the eve of the presentation‚ and asked for a postponement.

Williams claimed that the organisation’s audit and risk committee received a “draft final report” on July 31 and have not had enough time to consider its findings and recommendations.

Williams also contradicted his predecessor Chris Nenzani when he dropped a bombshell and told the committee that the CSA board has not shared the report with the Members Council‚ the organisation’s highest decision-making body that initiated the independent forensic investigation.

“Whilst such processing by the Cricket South Africa Audit and Risk Committee is underway‚ it could therefore be prejudicial to the investigation‚ CSA and any persons mentioned and/or implicated by the report were such report or matters contained therein be released or issued to any party outside of the Audit and Risk Committee without ensuring that a structured legal management process is implemented‚” said Williams.

“Cricket South Africa therefore requests your indulgence to postpone its appearance before the Portfolio Committee scheduled for the 21st of August 2020 until such time as the Cricket South Africa Audit and Risk Committee has completed its legally required processes and Cricket South Africa is in a position to provide a substantive status/outcome on the forensic investigation to the Portfolio Committee.

“Cricket South Africa undertakes to provide the Portfolio Committee with status updates on its current processes in due course.”

The CSA audit and risk committee is chaired by independent board member Marius Schoeman.

Fellow independent board members Professor Steve Cornelius‚ Dheven Dharmalingam and Vuyokazi Memani-Sedile sit on the committee along with Limpopo Cricket chairperson John Mogodi and Eastern Province cricket boss Donovan May.

Chief commercial officer Kugandrie Govender was this week appointed acting chief executive officer to replace Dr Jacques Faul‚ who held a similar role until he tendered in his resignation 48 hours after his board chairperson Nenzani also quit.

She and company secretary Welsh Gwaza and chief financial officer Pholetsi Moseki are permanent invitees to the audit and risk committee.

Nenzani had told the media on June 30 that the organisation had already received a first part of the report. He said CSA will be able to act on its findings and recommendations in the days after receiving the report.

Nenzani said the independent forensic report will be shared with the members council before any action is taken by the board to implement its findings and recommendations.

But Williams‚ who was elected as acting president to replace Nenzani‚ said the audit and risk committee‚ headed by Schoeman‚ received the draft final forensic report on July 31.

Williams is acting as president until the annual general meeting scheduled for September 5 when a new leader will be elected.

The former Western Province president has ambitions to take over the reins and is understood to have presented himself as a fit figure to take the organisation back into safe waters despite allegations of conflict of interest hanging over him.

SowetanLIVE reported last month that a complaint of conflict of interest was formally laid against Williams by a fellow board member in November last year.

The complaint alleged that Williams was conflicted in a CSA partnership deal concluded with the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) for the infrastructure development at Newlands in Cape Town. The deal involved CSA granting millions of rands in loans for the Newlands Stadium infrastructure upgrades.

Williams is not a favourite figure at his own WPCA over the project. Advocate Nicolas Kock resigned as WPCA president last month citing irregularities related to the project.

CSA has already confirmed last month that the conflict of interest complaint against Williams formed part of the forensic investigation.

“The issue of conflict of interest is part of the forensic investigation‚ and we cannot pre-empt its findings‚” CSA executive consultant Michael Owen-Smith told TimesLIVE in a statement on July 10.

Sport‚ arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa met with CSA on Monday and it is understood that there were heated exchanges that led to the resignations of Nenzani and Faul.

Mthethwa’s office was sent questions asking what happened at the meeting. The ministry’s spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo had not responded at the time of publishing.

Her response will be added to the article once it is received.

Shadow minister of sport Tsepo Mhlongo said he was disappointed with the request for postponement.

“The leadership of crickets is undermining the portfolio committee. This is not the first time they have postponed our meeting with them without a valid reason.

"We have a leadership crisis within the federation. We cannot wait for four weeks before their AGM‚” Mhlongo told SowetanLIVE.